DESPITE controversy at the parish council, Bembridge has been shortlisted for a 'village of the year' award.

Bembridge was praised for its beautiful coastal setting, the lifeboat station and the busy village community with independent shops, cafes and restaurants.

The village at war has been shortlisted in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2019.

The village of the year category is new this year for the awards that celebrate rural Britain.

Sandown Bay has also been shortlisted in the awards, in the beach of the year category.

A panel of expert judges gathered to review all the submissions, whittling down the vast number of nominees to a shortlist of five contenders in each category.

Panelist and Countryfile presenter Charlotte Smith said: “It was a joy to sit in a small room with some lovely and interesting people and chunter about our favourite places.

"I made notes and will be checking out some of the other judges’ recommendations.

"Actually making decisions on the shortlist was significantly harder. But I hope you agree we’ve found some fantastic parts of the country — now vote, and visit.”

Editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine Fergus Collins added: “Congratulations on everyone who has been shortlisted — it was a tough judging process, so they can all justly feel proud at being part of this celebration of the best of the British countryside.

"Now it’s up to readers and website visitors to vote on their favourites in each category and I anticipate some closely fought contests.”

Voting is now open online at and will close at midnight on February 17.

Winners will be announced in the May issue of BBC Countryfile Magazine.